Harry would have found something sinister or otherwise remarkable in what he saw; then again, Harry was the sort of man for whom a tattered Bazooka Joe comic could and often did hold a mystical status as a stegotext for a nationwide conspiracy.

From what I could see, the reality was almost painfully mundane. For all its fearsome reputation among conspiracy theorists, the Chalice and Cross society seemed little more than a secretive country club. They’d kept meticulous records, thoroughly indexed, of initiations, events, members, and dues. Three men who later became President of the United States were on the rolls, as the crazies were so quick to note, but two appeared to have dropped out shortly after initiation. A smattering of other luminaries filled the membership rolls, but most were not even members in good standing at the time of graduation–and I, for one, had grave doubts that an organization would orchestrate the appointment of a Supreme Court justice when he owed the Crossmen $250 in back membership dues!

In fact, the only thing of note was a ledger that appeared to be written in some kind of cipher. It was too brief to contain any of the things the one-world-government crazies like Harry would have expected; in fact, I was able to take a high resolution digital photograph of each page using the rig the university archivist had set up for me. Most ciphers rely on the reader not being able to decode them at their leisure; I was about to do just that.

I’d just finished taking the final shot when I heard footsteps. Not an archivist, either, but someone very keen on remaining unnoticed as they approached.

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